The sprawling city of Rio de Janeiro serves as the inspiration for Sarah Morris's new exhibition at White Cube in London, titled "Bye Bye Brazil." Up through September 29, the show's centerpiece is Rio, a film exploring the city's beaches and factories, its modernist architecture and overcrowded favelas. In the 88-minute-long work, Morris also includes visits to famed sites like architect Oscar Niemeyer's office (filmed before his recent death), the notorious Carnival, and the mayor's headquarters.
The 16 "Rio" paintings on view complement those filmed discoveries with abstracted "diagrams." Like visual codexes, they take the city's rich exterior and interior life as jumping-off points for their interwoven planes, curves, and colors—a palette of bright lime greens, pinks, and tangerine oranges, set off stark black. The title of the exhibition comes from filmmaker Carlos Diegues's flamboyant 1979 movie about the escapades of a traveling sideshow's members at a time when Rio was considered the height of modernity. Morris's exhibition subtly reworks and recasts those original inclinations of Rio as a contemporary city.